First, the facts:
Title: Little Women Knits
Author: Joanna Johnson
Published by: Slate Falls Press, 2020
No chapters, just the patterns
The In-Depth Look:
If you know Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, you probably have an image in your head of the four sisters, rambling about their Massachusetts home, doing what they can to stretch a penny while dealing with the challenges of growing up in each others’ pockets.
I sometimes think that the reason this is the best-known of Alcott’s stories is because we can all relate to the difficulty of growing up and figuring out who we are, while also feeling nostalgic about the past when things seemed, if not easier, at least more simple.
That is the vibe this pattern collection hits. When I say it’s not the most adventurous collection I’ve seen, that is in no way a complaint about the patterns. It’s more that they exude a sense of charm and a warm hominess.
The patterns here are a bundle of different types–shawls, socks, wraps, a sweater–meant to be cozy and comforting in a troubled time. Just like when the original Little Women took place during the Civil War (when things were anything but settled or secure), I think we all are longing for a sense of solidity and just want something warm to cuddle in while waiting for the world to make sense again.
Really, this collection couldn’t have come at a better time.
The designs are by Joanna Johnson, who always seems to find a creative way to capture the essence of her literary inspirations. (If you haven’t you should check out her Anne of Green Gables and Sherlock Holmes collections.) These patterns are not full of fancy stitches or complicated construction, but they are the kind of straight-forward comfort you get from a simple cup of cocoa on a cold day. Sometimes all you really want is the familiar instant kind with marshmallows you grew up with.
Sure the fancy homemade kind with heavy cream and melted chocolate can be luscious, but knitwear doesn’t have to be fancy and furbelowed to hit the spot any more than chocolate does. When you just want to snuggle into some wooly warmth on the couch, you want something soft that’s well-designed, like the shawl here that ties at the back–all warmth, no drama.
In addition to the reassuringly simple designs, we have lovely hand-drawn illustrations by Joanna’s talented daughter Laurel Johnson, as well as beautiful atmospheric photos by Christa Tippmann. The hand-dyed yarns which all look fabulous all come from Rachel Lundstrom.
All in all, this collection is like a warm hug–sweet, simple, and comforting.
I think Louisa May Alcott would be proud.
This review copy was kindly donated by Slate Falls Press. Thank you!
My Gush: Sweet and gentle; pure comfort.
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